USCIS has released its EB-5 petition processing data for FY 2017.
What does the EB-5 petition data for FY 2017 say about the state of the EB-5 Program? Is it good news or bad news?
This year, the EB-5 petition data reveals a little bit of good and bad news.
The good news, as indicated by the I-526 petition processing data, is that for the first time in almost a decade, the Investor Program Office (IPO) was able to adjudicate more petitions than they received in FY 2017.
Additionally, the data for the I-829 petitions, in FY 2017, indicate that the IPO was able to adjudicate almost as many petitions as they received, which is a dramatic increase from prior years. This may be due to the IPO's addition of a division that focuses on I-829 petitions.
The bad news is that the data for I-526 petitions reveal that while the number of petitions received dropped fairly significantly, the number is still so high that unless the visa cap is increased, the backlog will worsen.
The curiously bad news revealed by the I-829 petitions, shows the for FY2017 the number of petitions received dropped dramatically. What this indicates is that EB-5 investors are not petitioning to remove the conditions on their green cards and to complete the program. It is not clear why this is happening, but it appears to be bad news for the program. There should be a similar amount of I-829 petitions received to the previous year, if not more, because the program has issued the maximum amount of visas each year for the last four years.
One piece of interesting information regarding I-526 petitions that appears to always happen is that filing surges immediately prior to EB-5 Regional Center Program sunset dates.
With new EB-5 regulations expected in the coming months, expect slow processing times and an increased backlog as investors may try to apply to the program before the minimum investment amount increases. With that in mind, a potential EB-5 investor may benefit from applying as early as possible!
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